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This world is full of religion. You can find a religion that will fit your needs and make you feel good. But what exactly are they offering you? Do they teach the Word of God? Is a change of heart a requirement for the promise of salvation? Is every level of hierarchy with in those religions built on honesty and truth?

From what I have seen of religion today offers nothing but a false hope, a half truth and hypocrisy. This practice in man made religion has been going on for years. In fact, Jesus preached about it. At that time it was the Scribes and Pharisees that were doing a disservice to those that wanted to seek God. In Matthew 23 Christ brings judgment to those that require acts from the people and not themselves. To those that are more concerned with the “law” than a heart change. To those that are busy about works that make them appear to be righteous but are not sincere in their hearts. He concludes this message with verse 23; “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” The scribes and Pharisees in Bible times were more concerned with acting like a follower of Christ than being one from the heart, as many religious leaders are today. God requires us to pay more attention to the “weightier matters of the law” those that are most important, judgment, mercy and faith.

In my observation of religion I have seen that many have two of the three. Some have mercy and faith. They preach that God is love and will forgive anything as long as you believe. That you can’t live with out sin, but God is merciful just say “I Believe”. Others are full of judgment, have strict creeds that, and are stingy with mercy. There is any combination that can be made. But if you don’t have all three, you don’t have the complete truth that God has for you. The three principles, judgment, mercy and faith all work together and the result is beautiful.

In order to receive mercy through faith, one has to experience judgment. How can you ask for forgiveness if you have done nothing wrong? Romans 3:23 reads “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Each and every one of us has committed sin. What is sin? Sin is a transgression against God’s law, something that we know is wrong but do it anyways (1 John 3:4) or something that we know we need to do, but we don’t do it. (James 4:17) The Bible tells us that we are all sinners and that God is not pleased with this. Romans 6:1 asks “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” the answer in verse 2 is “God forbid.” His plan for us is that we live in communion with him. We cannot do this if sin remains in our life. So judgment comes through the acknowledgement of sin and the need to seek forgiveness or mercy for them. If we fail to do this and continue living in sin, we have a reward, and that is hell. (Psalms 9:16-17) But let’s not forget God’s perfect plan. He does offer mercy to those that seek his forgiveness for their sins. God sent his son, the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live with out sin. In Matthew 1:21 the Bible states that Jesus came to save his people FROM their sins, not to save them while they continue IN their sins. All we have to do to receive this mercy is to confess our sins. (1 John 1:9) It is hard to say that we are wrong and to say sorry, but God loves a humble heart and will draw them close. Once we have been forgiven it is up to us to choose to live sin free every day. Sin is a choice as we discussed earlier and it is with God’s mercy and grace that we are able to choose to follow him in righteousness. We have a responsibility to keep a tight hold on our salvation, 1 John 5:18 “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” We are born into God’s family when we have sought forgiveness and received it; we then need to keep ourselves so that the enemy of our souls will have no power over us. Now where is faith in all of this? Ephesians 2:8-9 reads “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” We do need to have faith to believe that God can and will save us. That he will keep his promises. Through the power of salvation in us and his presence through the Holy Spirit, we can live each day in a manner pleasing to him. We will not make it to heaven just by doing good things, we cannot save ourselves. We need to accept the blood of Jesus as a payment for our sins and though God’s mercy continue our life with out sin. Our salvation is a work that only God can perform in our lives. It is only when we have acknowledged the judgment of sin and sought mercy through faith that we are able to live as God would have us to, holy, sin free, and in communion with him.

Through all of this we can see that we must have all three, judgment, mercy and faith to live according to God’s plan for his people. Be honest with your self and with God. Don’t be content with just a religious belief, search for a true relationship with God. Seek the truth where ever you go and God will be faithful to bring you to it. It is his desire that you find the truth.

I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day. My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail. He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old. He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer. He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked. He was unto me as a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places. He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate. He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins. I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day. He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood. He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes. And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity.

 And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.  The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. – Lamentations 3:1-32

 

Great is Thy Faithfulness – William M. Runyan

“Great is thy faithfulness,” O God my Father, There is no shawdow of turning with Thee; thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not; as thou hast been thou forever wilt be.

Summer and winter and spring time and harvest, sun, moon and stars in their courses above, join with all nature in manifold witness, to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide; strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath povided, Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

 

Lam 3:22-23It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: Great is thy faithfulness.

 

 I am thankful that don’t have to rely on yesterdays mercy and compassion, we get a new dose every morning to help us through that day. Let’s take advantage of this gift and use it all up.

Have you ever been so excited about a gift you received that you couldn’t keep quite about it? A present that you had to tell everyone about? Maybe one that just kept giving day after day? I received this gift many years ago and I have to tell you about it.

This gift that I speak of has changed my life and is my reason for living; it is called salvation.

Now that is a big word and what exactly does it mean? According to a dictionary salvation is a saving or being saved, a preservation or rescue from destruction. And this is exactly what happened to me. I was saved from self destruction through a life full of sin.

I was born and raised at the Church of God where they preach straight from the Bible about living a holy life free from sin. But while it was good to hear about it and acknowledge that it is possible, my parents and friends experience was not enough for me. I needed to have my own personal relationship with God. Even though I was young and had not gone deep into sin, I knew I still needed God to forgive me. He saved me from destroying my life with sin. As it is explained in Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” This is the gift I long to tell you about.

But what does it mean to live sin free? Do I have to commit to living in seclusion, take on a “holier than thou” attitude, or constantly have to ask forgiveness for sin that I can’t control? No, we can be human with a normal life and live with out sin. I brush my teeth and drive my car to work just like every one else, only I am alive with in and not just a living breathing human. It is this that I want to demonstrate, how to live a holy life today, not 2000 years ago, not 100 years ago, not even 10 years ago, but today in 2009. God has given me this gift, the gift of his son who paid for my sins on the cross. As I said before, it changed my live and is my reason for living. Because he has done so much for me, I choose every day of my life to serve him by living with out sin. It is not of my own strength, but because it is my greatest desire, God gives me strength to remain holy.

I am not here to preach or offer religion but to share how one can practically use Godly principles to live each and every day. Holiness is a way of life, not something to put on every Sunday.

All scriptures and authority come from God’s Word, King James Version of the Holy Bible. The dictionary I use is an old Webster’s dated 1951. Other than that, most entrees will be an explanation of how God has helped me to live a holy life.

I encourage you to read on, comment or ask questions. And I will do my best with the help of my best friend Jesus to reply in a manner that edifies.

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